Team Barbie

Let me preface this post by saying that we painted Buttercup's nursery a neutral shade of soft green, avoided All Things Pink until she decided pink was her favorite color somewhere around 18 months, and had a strict Anti-Barbie policy when it came to the dolls allowed in our home. Only three channels are allowed on the television (Nick Jr., PBS Kids, and Disney Juniorbefore all those mindless Hannah Montana type shows take over the screen) and Buttercup isn't really sure what a commercial is.

All Victoria Secret catalogs and other like materials that end up in my mail box go straight into the recycling bin and the other "F" word in our house is "fat." Conversations and freak-outs about the size of my own ass are limited to texts messages with the BFF or put on public display for the rest of the world to see. We focus all conversations about exercise and food and such around being healthy and strong and having good energy.

And when well-meaning strangers comment on how "big" Buttercup is for her age (she's about 49 inches tall at four years of age now) I always gently rephrase the statement by responding, "Why yes, she's very tall, isn't she?" I say it with a smile.


You also need to know that I was five feet tall when I was eight years old, wore my mother's jeans to save money on new clothes, and grew up constantly hearing how "big" I was while sitting in front of Univision or Telemundo watching skantily clad women with long legs and flat stomachs and big, white teeth strut in front of their studio audience of their televised children show. Anyone remember Xuxa? Yeah...she was a porn star and then children everywhere were singing the theme song to the show while our fathers drooled.

I was hiding in the pantry to binge eat by the time I was eight and bulimic by the time I was 15. And obviously, there are still issues I'm dealing with.

Barbie was banned not because I hate perky blondes, but because I thought having a doll like that in our home would undo all I am trying so hard to prevent. I was convinced that Barbie and her body would make my little girl question her own and set up unrealistic expectations and a lifetime of disappointment. And then one day I found myself cruising the toy aisles in search of a birthday gift for one of Buttercup's little girlfriends. Of course, we found what we were looking for on the shelves directly across the aisle from the Barbie display.


I saw ballerina barbies...



And Skipper and her sister...



And Odette from Swan Lake Barbie...


And (Hot for) teacher Barbie...

And then we saw Wizard of Oz Barbie...


That's when The Husband whispered something into my ear that sounded something like "no way in hell..."

And that's when I remembered all the Barbies I grew up playing with and how I never once compared my own prepubescent body to the plastic one I had in my hands and how Barbie was the furthest thing from my mind when I was throwing up whatever I had just binged on. Barbie, I realized, wasn't my issue. But Barbies skanky enough that the name could be changed to Exotic Dancer Barbie (the dancer's pole is extra, mom and dad) and her clothing would still match the description?

Yeah....that? I have a serious problem with.

We have a new rule in our house: no skanks allowed. Barbie like I remember from my childhood? Fine by me.

She may end up just as naked just as fast and tossed into the pile of other naked dolls once taken out of the packaging, but at least this way I don't have to explain a bustier, thigh highs, and stripper heels to a four-year-old.